Four fun shops in San Francisco’s Japantown

Japantown at night, San Francisco

Hotels in this story

[Flickr/Averain]

Walking into the Japantown center in San Francisco is like entering another country; spend just a few hours wandering around the three story building, and you’ll feel like you just took a trip overseas, just without the jet lag. Here are a few shops to visit while there:

Pika Pika – Imagine a photo booth, where you put in a few dollars, and a strip of photos of you with a goofy grin spits out of the machine. Pika Pika does this, but with so much more style. Enter one of the seven Japanese photo booths. Pick your background. Add words and designs. Make them into stickers, stamps or print them on golf balls. Or just wander around and see what others are doing. 1581 Webster Street, Kinokuniya Mall

Paper Tree – If you’re a decorative paper fan, check out Japantown’s Paper Tree. Here, you can stock up on high quality patterned paper, whether for origami, gift wrap, or to make your own books. The Japanese art of wrapping is alive and well. 1743 Buchanan Mall

Isobune Sushi – if you’ve ever taken sushi dishes from the floating boats circumnavigating the sushi chef in the middle, you can thank Isobune. This was the first sushi restaurant to do this. Take a break from your shopping and fill your tummy with sushi from this original restaurant. 1737 Post Street (between Buchanan & Webster)

Asakichi Kimono – This store is as much a gallery as a shop for beautiful kimonos. Clothing is art at Asakichi Kimono. 1730 Geary Blvd

When visiting Japantown, stay at Hotel Kabuki (part of the Japantown complex) or a few blocks away at the Best Western Tomo.

– Debbie Abrams Kaplan of Frisco Kids and Kaplan Ink.